Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 126
Ken Fuller got off to a bad start in his campaign. He tried to use the ballot designation of “Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles/Captain, U.S. Air Force.” Under amendments to Elections Code §13107, effective Jan. 1, a government lawyer may use one “actual job title” not two. To his credit, once the impermissibility was pointed out, he acquiesced and asked the Registrar-Recorder’s Office to excise the latter title. That’s a good sign. There have been judges—former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe comes to mind—who have been incapable of accepting that they could possibly have erred.
We do, however, fault Fuller’s excuse that he relied upon advice of election attorneys. A person seeking a judgeship should be able to decipher a statute without help.
O THEIR DISCREDIT, BOTH Fuller and his prime rival, Senior Deputy County Counsel Rene Caldwell Gilbertson, have fudged—only slightly, though nonetheless they parted from the truth—as to how long they have been in practice.
Gilbertson’s website says that she’s been a lawyer for 24 years. No. It will be 24 years on Nov. 22.
Fuller’s website declares: “Ken has impressively handled thousands of criminal cases and has tried more than a hundred cases to verdict over a legal career that spans thirteen years in adult, juvenile and military courts and has a favorable jury trial verdict of over 90%.” He was admitted to the State Bar on Dec. 1, 2005; the 13-year point will be reached on Dec. 1 of this year.
Gilbertson’s more than 23 years of practice is nearly double the time that Fuller has been a lawyer. Longevity of practice is meaningful, but not the only yardstick.
Each is well regarded in a separate area of law—she handles juvenile dependency cases.
E ENDORSE FULLER based on his somewhat more diversified background, including his annual two-month service in the Air Force Reserves handling cases—many of an assorted civil nature—within the JAG Corps. Too, he has a reputation within the District Attorney’s Office for volunteering to undertake extra work, doing his work on a timely basis, and being well-prepared.
There is another candidate in the race: Shlomo Frieman. He is gentlemanly and sincere, and is no doubt an asset to the Los Angeles Superior Court’s volunteer pro tern program. He adjudicates traffic cases.
The ability to handle that chore, while requiring a certain knack, does not evidence the capacity to serve as a full-fledged member of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Frieman retired from law practice 15 years ago, and had been a patent lawyer. He has performed as an attorney in a courtroom in only two cases: he made one appearance in the federal Court of Patent Appeals and, after his lawyer bowed out of representing him in one of his two divorces, he became an attorney in pro per in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Copyright 2018, Metropolitan News Company